Comment on Foster Horizontal Respect

By | 2022-02-07T18:04:28-05:00 July 1st, 2008|0 Comments


Dear Donna,

Embracing the tips in your article, “Foster Horizontal Respect” ( will foster a positive workplace environment. But, I was disappointed that you did not mention the catalyst for much of what generates those negative behaviors in the first place. Specifically, the insidious accumulation of nursing tasks and expectations that have stressed out floor nurses often beyond the critical mass of safety. Unless, these issues are seriously confronted — directly contradicting nursing’s historic selflessly compliant nature — success at realigning these “misbehaviors” will be, at best, fragmented.


Dear Donna replies:

Dear Mark,

Thanks for your note. While there are unquestionably things in “the system” that cause stress and strife for nurses in some work settings (not all), the role of nurse and caregiver is stressful in and of itself. And because we are all human, our humanness sometimes causes some of our problems. It is that humanness and the inherently stressful nature of our jobs that the article is intended to address.

Every problem that we have on a day-to-day basis is not caused by “the system” or by the persecution or oppression of others. Sometimes it is simply because we are tired, coping with personal issues, overwhelmed with our lives in general, etc. Many of us don’t give self-care a priority, get into a rut with our jobs and careers, and bring our personal problems to work with us — all things we need to address.

I also believe that we will be stronger as individuals and as a group and be better advocates for our patients and ourselves if we use the strategies mentioned in the article.

My best wishes,

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nursing Spectrum/NurseWeek’s “Dear Donna” and author of Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional. To ask Donna your question, go to Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call (800) 866-0919 or visit


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